I knew it was only a matter of time before the question came up, though I had hoped it could wait a few more days. But there in my email inbox was the pixelated question I had been dreading: Have you ever been married or engaged before?
I was enjoying getting to know Laurin, the sweet woman that a popular dating site had assured me would be a good match. At this point in our budding online relationship, we had only made small talk about jobs, family, college, etc., but it was clear we had a lot in common, and I wanted to see where this new friendship might lead.
It wasn’t that I had anything to hide about my divorce; I just knew that this question could signal the end of our relationship. I’d seen people in church and my small group look away or politely excuse themselves as the subject of my divorce came up. No one was quite sure how to respond. It seemed that no matter what I said, how I approached the subject, or what words I used, divorce was a conversation killer.
I am thankful that with Laurin, who is now my bride, the conversation continued. I am thankful that when she received my response, she was out of town with friends — good friends who encouraged her not to toss me aside before digging deeper into my heart. Over the next few days, I answered more of Laurin’s questions and told her about my relationship with the Lord. I shared my story with her, scars and all. And she saw me, at least in some small way, how my heavenly Father sees me: worth pursuing.
In my article, “The Wide Road to Divorce,” I share a bit of my story — and a bit of the struggle we all face because of the disease of sin. In many ways, walking through a divorce — or one of a hundred other tragedies in this world — can help us understand the grace of God in a way we simply couldn’t before. But as many people like me can attest, it is often when we need the most compassion that people shy away; it is often when we need a friend that our friends steer clear.
Have you ever walked through a painful situation only to find yourself all alone on the other side? How do you think the church should respond to the issue of divorce, and to people who have experienced its sting firsthand?
John Greco is the author of Broken Vows: Divorce and the Goodness of God. He currently serves as a writer and editor for an international Christian ministry in the Atlanta area. In the past, he’s served in a variety of local church positions, and he’s been a staff writer for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Crown Financial Ministries. He holds a Master of Divinity from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.
(Photo by Rosanna Marie Photography)